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Aspen boys struggle early, get the win

Todd Hartley

It wasn’t supposed to be this difficult for the Aspen High School boys basketball team, but they got the win, and that’s all that mattered.

The Skiers, the No. 2 seed in the 3A District 4 Tournament, opened postseason play with a 65-45 win over No. 10 Rangely Thursday night at the Skierdome after suffering through a rough first quarter. They move on to the District semifinals tonight at Central High School in Grand Junction.

“We didn’t play well,” said Aspen coach Steve Ketchum, “but we won, and that’s all we’re really asking for.”

The Panthers, behind the hot shooting of Paul Fortunato, jumped out to an 11-4 lead and had a 16-15 edge after the first quarter. Fortunato scored 12 in the period, including Rangely’s first nine points, to give the Panthers a much-needed boost.

The Skiers stormed back in the second quarter behind nine points, all on 3-pointers, from junior guard Duncan Delano to lead 35-28 at halftime.

“Duncan played really well,” said Ketchum. “His threes really kept us in the game in the first half.”

Rangely opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Mark Skelton to cut the lead to four points, but back-to-back threes from Aspen’s Nick Farrell and Corey Robinson pushed the lead right back to 10 and gave the Skiers a little breathing room.

Delano led a balanced Aspen attack with 15 points. Robinson and Robert Tomaszek scored 14 apiece, and Farrell finished with 10. Up-and-coming reserve player Jared Kidd came off the bench to notch six second-half points for the Skiers.

Rangely was paced by Fortunato’s game-high 20 points. Terrell Lowry scored 12 in the loss.

Tonight the Skiers take on No. 3 seed Roaring Fork, a 67-54 winner over No. 6 Cedaredge. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. at Central High.


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